Type: Book

Advances in measuring soil health


Dr Wilfred Otten is Professor of Soil Biophysics at Cranfield University, UK. He was the President of the British Soil Science Society (2017-2018), and is a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Science. Professor Otten is internationally-renowned for his research on measuring and modelling physical, chemical and microbial processes in soil.



Publication date:

22 June 2021

Length of book:

382 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786764263

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Understanding and measuring the different dimensions of soil health is key to achieving regenerative agriculture. There has been a wealth of research on developing better analytical techniques to measure the biological, physical and chemical properties of soils.

Advances in measuring soil health reviews these developments and their implications for better management of farm soils. The volume begins by reviewing advances in measuring soil biological activity such as earthworms and fungi as indicators of soil health. The collection also surveys developments in measuring soil physical properties through advances in visual, imaging and geophysical techniques, as well as the methods used to measure chemical properties such as soil organic carbon. It concludes by looking at how measurement can be translated into farming practice through soil health indicators and decision support systems.

With its distinguished editor and expert authors, Advances in measuring soil health will be a standard reference for university and other researchers in soil and crop science, government and other agencies responsible for the health of agricultural soils, companies providing soil monitoring services, and farmers wishing to know more about the latest developments in soil monitoring.

What others are saying...

“Soil health is an equivocal concept that takes on different meanings depending on the application and the investigator. The proposed content of this comprehensive volume will give more meaning to ‘soil health’, bringing together a range of measurement approaches, modelling and decision support tools, with an ultimate aim to improve soils.”Prof. Paul Hallett, University of Aberdeen, UK

Table of contents

Part 1 Measuring soil biological activity
1.Assessing soil health by measuring fauna: Felicity Crotty, Royal Agricultural University, UK;
2.Quantifying earthworm community structures as indicators of soil health: Jacqueline L. Stroud, formerly Rothamsted Research, UK;
3.Characterisation of fungal communities and functions in agricultural soils: Andy F. S. Taylor, The James Hutton Institute and University of Aberdeen, UK; and Thomas Freitag, Lucinda J. Robinson and Duncan White, The James Hutton Institute, UK;

Part 2 Measuring soil physical and chemical properties
4.Advances in visual soil evaluation techniques: Mansonia Pulido-Moncada, Aarhus University, Denmark; Bruce C. Ball, formerly Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), UK; and Wim M. Cornelis, Ghent University, Belgium;
5.Imaging soil structure to measure soil functions and soil health with X-ray computed micro-tomography: Alexandra Kravchenko and Andrey Guber, Michigan State University, USA;
6.Geophysical methods to assess soil characteristics: Ho-Chul Shin, Rothamsted Research, UK; Guillaume Blanchy, Lancaster University, UK; Ian Shield, Peter Fruen, Timothy Barraclough and Christopher W. Watts, Rothamsted Research, UK; Andrew Binley, Lancaster University, UK; and William R. Whalley, Rothamsted Research, UK;
7.Advances in techniques to assess soil erodibility: R. J. Rickson, E. Dowdeswell Downey, G. Alegbeleye and S. E. Cooper, Cranfield University, UK;
8.Advances in measuring mechanical properties of soil in relation to soil health: Muhammad Naveed, University of West London, UK;
9.Advances in near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to assess soil health: Francisco J. Calderón, Oregon State University, USA; Andrew J. Margenot, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA; and Scarlett Bailey, National Resources Conservation Service - National Soil Survey Center, USA;
10.Spectral mapping of soil organic carbon: Bas van Wesemael, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium;

Part 3 From measurement to management
11.Developing soil health indicators for improved soil management on farm: Elizabeth Stockdale, NIAB, UK; Paul Hargreaves, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), UK; and Anne Bhogal, ADAS Gleadthorpe, UK;
12.Developing decision support systems (DSS) for farm soil and crop management: Matt Aitkenhead, The James Hutton Institute, UK;